Peter Merholz has been active in digital design and product for 25 years, most notably in building premier user experience consultancy, Adaptive Path, and now advising teams on design organizations and leadership. He co-wrote Org Design for Design Orgs (O’Reilly), the first book focused on the organizational, managerial, and operational challenges of building in-house design teams.
At the heart of most agile development frameworks are small,
cross-functional squads. And in those squads resides a lone designer,
collaborating with a product owner and engineers. This model has lead to
the quest for the Unicorn designer, the broadly skilled individual who
can do interaction design, visual design, and maybe even content and
research as well!
This trend has potentially terrible ramifications on the practice of
design in companies. In this talk, Peter will explain why the Team, not
any one designer, is the Atomic Unit of Design Organisations. Drawing
upon his experience from shaping teams at Adaptive Path, through his
work as a VP of Design and now management consultant for design orgs,
he'll walk through the process of intentionally creating a strong,
diverse team, what behaviors and norms enable a team to behave at their
best, and explain why the Team Lead is the most important role in your
design organisation (yes, even more than Head of Design).
Most Design Leaders and Managers were promoted into these roles due to their strength as designers. They soon learn, though, that the skills that brought you to the role are not the ones that will carry you forward. To enable and empower their design teams, leaders and managers must embrace a new set of practices. And it turns out that there are circumstances specific to the function of design that go beyond generic "management training."
In this half-day workshop, Peter Merholz will use his Coach (managing down), Diplomat (managing across), Champion (managing up), and Architect (managing at scale) framework to guide leaders and managers through what's required of them in their roles, introducing them to a set of practices and activities that will strengthen their performance.